The yard of many people reflects something unique unto the world and mirrors a very interesting aspect of the typical modern viewpoint. When I look at most people’s yards at the turn of the season from winter to spring I am fascinated. Brilliant and showy colors of a vast variety of flowers fill the space. Lush and vibrant green covers the ground in the form of grass. Ornamental trees display their flowers and early leaves. While staring mesmerized by the surreal show we forget the reality of it all.
While yard daffodils hang heavy with bright yellow flowers and Bradford Pear trees are filled with fluffy white blooms, the forest and fields are still for the most part brown. The yard flowers and ornamental trees blossom weeks before the forest shows us that it is truly alive again for the new growing season. While the tiny leaves of the trout lily are just starting to push up out of the thick leaf mulch of the cool forest floor, the yard hyacinth has been blooming for a couple weeks. As the toothwort begins to show its rough shaped spreading leaves the yard grasses are about ready for their first mowing. The domestic apples are busy pushing out new leaves as the wild oak and ash still appear to be sleeping. Most of the time here in the North Country the yard flowers are out long before the hordes of pollinating insects! The brisk spring winds do the job in their stead. Year after year I see the early hybrid flowers come up from planted bulbs only to be ravaged by the winter that lingers and threatens for many more weeks. If the forest made such mistakes the land would die. Trees would blossom too soon and frost would kill them. Ground flowers would die from late snowfalls if they came up too early. But the domestic yard does not think of such things because not much in them is native to the area they now grow.
So while the average yard is bursting with color, bloom and grass the surrounding wildland is taking its good old time. The rush of the modern lifestyle and thought process can clearly be seen in this pattern. The yard is a representation of the domesticated human who wishes to rush through life with a limited attention span. The blatant and robust looking yard steals the focus and steers the attention away from the subtle nuances of the wildland. Today so many are conditioned to pay attention only to that which stands out with flying colors and ignore the rest. In the wild these items and life forms of flying colors are brief and fleeting. It is life’s way of showing us that they are for compliment, not the whole show.
Most people I see today are busy look forward to the cool crisp air and changing colors of autumn when it is July; the trick-or-treating at the end of October when school is just starting up in September; Thanksgiving before Halloween arrives and the winter holidays before Thanksgiving has come to pass… In mid winter people are thinking about bathing suits for summer! Steal the attention and focus of the now and propel it into that which is nothing more than a thought- the future. What will the future bring if we are not focused on the now?
So as I pass by yards in early spring and see the beautiful show I remind myself that it is a forced façade and the reality is within the wild lands all around me. I remember to look closely and with patience under the old dry forest floor leaf to see the first stalk of Orpine shooting up and the tightly curled leave of the trout Lily pushing out from the cold earth. That is rewarding beyond the reach and sight of any daffodil, beautiful as they are, still they do not fit the natural landscape nor the natural flow of energy from that sacred transition from winter to spring. Just a reminder of what the modern yard represents in our modern lives…
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